Ralph Arnold Gallery’s “Bad News” Thoughtfully Examines World Issues

Courtesy of Anya Guzman-HardinThe Ralph Arnold Gallery opened its newest exhibit, “Bad News,” which examines the art of bad news and pushes gallery visitors to thoughtfully examine the world around. “Bad News” will run through Nov. 16.

Loyola’s Ralph Arnold Gallery opened its newest exhibition “Bad News” to mild fanfair Thursday, Oct. 18 in the Loyola Fine Arts Annex.

“Bad News” is a follow up to the gallery’s previous exhibition, “Good News,” which the Ralph Arnold Gallery (1131 W. Sheridan Road) hosted earlier in October. The current collection intends to shed light on the beauty of bad news while urging viewers to question the world around, according to the exhibition description provided by the gallery.

 “Bad News” is curated by Betsy Odom and Rafael E. Vera, who also curated the previous exhibition.  

The show is headlined by Chicago Art Institute graduate Chris Kerr and features work by other professional artists Krista Wortendyke, Jonathan Herrera, Cheryl Pope, Maria Gaspar and Nate Mathews. The 16-piece exhibit is comprised of media such as photography, printmaking, drawing and sculpture.

Kerr presents a display of colorful and off-the wall acrylic and pen pieces which forces a viewer to ponder for even just a moment the potential implications of a piece like “I Drank Too Much Blood” or “Menstrual Cramps,” which are two of the eight pieces situated in a collection with other Kerr drawings. 

The stand-alone piece “Things Will Get Worse” seems to question how we interpret and accept the situation we find ourselves, both positively and negatively.   

The exhibition also showcases a wide — at points rudderless — collection of marvelous pieces from a variety of talented and diverse artists.  

Jonathan Herrera offers a glimpse into the life of a refugee through his piece, “Morado/Purple,” which is an ink-stained, industrial pressed life jacket lining the wall opposite the entrance to the gallery.

Krista Wortendyke gives gallery visitors a glimpse into the events that occur when members of society speak out against oppression. 

She uses a startling collection of images taken directly from regular citizens’ images of uprisings and protests. “#mass_observation” initially appears to be hindered by poor assembly; however, the apparent air bubbles are another layer into Wortendyke’s work as the glue she uses is wheat-based, which is the same glue used by street artists and tends to bubble.

Maria Gaspar, whose work has been exhibited in cities such as New York and Philadelphia, challenges viewers to question and ponder the plight of those within the prison systems through the eyes of Google Earth. Her piece presented empty buildings, indicative of the lack of concern society has for incarcerated people.

Gaspar’s piece directly ties into the centerpiece of the gallery, which is a grey shoe mat. The price is modeled in the style of a standard retail store welcome mat which reads “When I Get Out I Want To Beat Someone Up” in black print, and, according to the artist, the mat is the average size of a prison cell in the United States. 

“Bad News” is a thought-provoking and well-curated collection of envelope-pushing artists which, at some points, seems disconnected to each other in terms of what viewers are supposed to feel throughout the exhibition. 

“Bad News” will run through Nov. 16. The exhibit is free for Loyola students. 

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